Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Asked to Resign Over Growing Scandal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 2 2013 3:10 PM

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Asked to Resign Over Scandal

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell campaigns with Attorney Genneral Ken Cuccinelli. Both men have been tainted by scandal, and McDonnell has now been asked to resign by a state legislator.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Not too long ago, even after the transvaginal probe debacle, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was seen as a strong contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Now he's an object of scandal and ridicule. An FBI probe revealed that McDonnell failed to disclose expensive gifts from wealthy donors—including designer clothes for his wife, a wedding banquet for his daughter, a hummer stretch limousine, and a Rolex watch—leading to accusations of bribery. Now, the Virgininian-Pilot reports that Fairfax City Senator John Chapman Peterson has called for McDonnell's resignation:

"If you or your family has received gifts of the type alleged, then you should disclose that fully and immediately," Petersen writes in a letter dated July 1.
"If those gifts are retail consumer items which you have retained for personal use, then you should return them immediately to the donor or sell them and donate the money to the Literary Fund," his letter reads. "That is the only method by which the public can regain trust in your Office. Without that trust, there is no purpose in continuing to serve."
If McDonnell is unable or unwilling to address the issue, Petersen offered this recommendation: "You should step down as Governor and permit the Lieutenant Governor to serve out the balance of your term."
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The scandal has also tainted Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea Party darling who is currently running to replace McDonnell when his term ends in January.* Cuccinelli violated state law several years ago by failing to disclose $20,000 worth of stock in Star Scientific, a tobacco supplement company currently under federal investigation.

Correction, July 2, 2013: This post originally referred to Ken Cuccinelli as Virginia’s lieutenant governor. He is the state’s attorney general.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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